The Ten Ironies of Holiness….Part Two of Three


 

 

 

 

Having discussed the first 4 ironies of holiness in the last post, we march on.

5. The more we seek to control, the less control we will have over what really matters.

Much of our suffering in this world is caused by our own desire to control, or act as if we did control, many things which are, in fact, beyond our control or should be.  We all understand what is not in our control, but what is something which, while it may be in our control, should not be?  These are things that we can take control of, but which will likely only cause us suffering and problems if we do. For example, suppose you want a given promotion in your job and you know you deserve it. You have already made it be known that you would be happy to get that promotion, and now you have the choice of letting things sit and leave all in the Hands of God or, on the contrary, push things and be a general pest about it.  While you may certainly have the right to be the pest, is that in your best interest?  Probably  not.  The better path to take is to ask God to provide what is best and let it go, letting God do, or not do, the rest.  Not only will you have more peace and less stress but, in the end, you will know that you have truly put things in God’s Hands.  If we fight for control for everything, we may throw things off and ultimately lose the things that really matter.  Worry too much about every little battle, and you may very wll lose the war.

6. The more we offer to God to do as He wishes, the more He will bless us with opportunities to make a difference in our own and others’ lives

People often act as if they know what is best for them more than God does.  They not only assume that they are the best judge of what is the best path to take and what are the best things to do, but likewise fail to offer all blessings to God as God deserves.  If we selfishly seek and manipulate to benefit ourselves alone, we will have no help from God and, ultimately, we will lose out.  Instead, we should offer all to the God Whom we should thank for what we have anyway, thus emphasizing that anything good we have comes from God, belongs to God, and should be offered and used to glorify God.

7. We will find ultimate and eternal peace and comfort by seeking earthly discomfort

Once we realize and accept the fact that comfort in this world has little, if anything, to do with eternal comfort and, in fact, may prevent eternal comfort, we will begin to see that we are here to seek discomfort for the glory of God and not comfort for our own glory.

In our next and last installment of these ironies, we will discuss the last three ironies of the ten ironies of holiness.

Copyright, 2013,  Gabriel Garnica,   all rights reserved.

 

The 10 Ironies of Holiness….Part One of Three


By now we should all accept the fact that God’s way is much different than our own.  Based on this reasoning, we should then also accept the fact that God’s logic will seem ironic to us simply because it will often run counter to what our own intuitive reasoning.  Irony is the unexpected, what catches us by surprise and, therefore, given our usual pattern of thought, God’s way will very much so seem to run counter, unexpected and, thus, ironic to our own way of seeing things.  I have tried to summarize these ironies into 10 observations and the statements that can be derived from those observations.

1. The Best Way to Save Our Soul is to Forget Ourselves

The more we focus on self, the more we hurt that self eternally.  If we want to save ourselves, we will forget ourselves in order to love our God and let God love us and take care of the rest.  God wants us to be totally dedicated and simply consumed by our love for Him such that that we cannot function without expressing and spreading that love through our words and actions.  Imagine you are feeding many hungry people while upside down held by a rope around your ankles from a helicopter. You are holding a bag of bread and throw loaves of that broad to the crowd below while suspended from a helicopter 50 feet in the air upside down like people do on a bungee rope. If the rope breaks, you will fall to your death, but you do not even think about that because you are so busy throwing food down to the hungry crowd below. If you lose faith or worry about your own safety, you will forget about feeding the people below and become self-absorbed.  We are called to feed, to serve, to love, not to worry about ourselves.  We must let God worry about that for us.  Simply stated, we will find ourselves eternally when we lose ourselves temporally.  We cannot serve others as Christ taught us to do when we are too self-absorbed to even acknowledge that others are there to be served.

2.  The Best Way to Gain Trust and Faith in God is to Lose Trust and Faith in Ourselves Without God

It might seem odd that God would want us to lose trust or faith in ourselves since we are so often told in this society that we can do so  much, that we are so powerful and independent, and that needing help is a sign of weakness.  Truth be told, however, we have to sincerely believe that our ultimate salvation is impossible without the help of God, that we are simply incapable of saving ourselves given our own weaknesses, limitations, humanity, sinfulness, imperfections, and nature.  We must believe that we are nothing without God because, simply put, we are not.  It is only when we realize and accept that we need God totally and unconditionally that we will get off our high horse and reach out to Him as our only hope for eternal salvation.

3.  If We Fear God Alone We Will Destroy the Fear that Keeps Us from Him

First of all, when we fear something or someone, we acknowledge the existence of that thing or person.  I cannot and should not fear what does not exist, therefore legitimate fear can only come from acknowledging the power that something or someone which is very real truly has over us.  Any other kind of fear, of the imaginary, the assumed, the perceived, is a negative mirage which will keep us from God.  Fear of the devil, for example, may seem like a healthy thing for us to have but, in truth, it is a counterproductive emotion.  When we fear the devil, we are giving him much more power than he deserves in our lives. When we fear the devil, we are indirectly mistrusting God because we are acknowledging or assuming that God’s protection of us can be compromised hence God can lose to the devil!  Some may say that the only reason that they fear the devil is precisely because they fear their own weakness or humanity.  While we should have a healthy respect for our own weakness and humanity, we should sit with that fear in the context of God’s eternal protection and help as fed by our total faith in that protection and faith.  In other words, we should accept that we can be afraid of evil and the devil, but quickly run to Our Lord precisely because we are afraid of evil and know plus believe that God can take care of that threat for us if we believe, love, confide, and entrust ourselves to His protection.  Fear of speaking out against wrong, or of proudly waving and wearing our faith publicly, for example, are clear examples of how fear implies that God will abandon us or that anything at all is gained by fearing any ounce of fear we may have in any situation. We have to firmly believe that God’s love and protection is so great and have such a powerful fear of offending God and being without Him eternally that any negative thoughts we have will disappear.

4.  We Must Serve God Proudly Without Having Pride

We must proudly proclaim and demonstrate our allegiance to God Almighty without having so much self-pride that we cannot be humble, charitable, forgiving, and serve others.  One can be proud without being boastful.  Being proud of one’s allegiance to God is all about enjoying the value and comfort of God’s Presence in our lives and seeing that Presence as the necessary Blessing we need and want in our lives.  Self-pride, however, is loving ourselves and being so focused on ourselves ( see # 1) so much that we are obsessed with how others see  us, where we stand in comparison to others, what appearances and impressions we give to others, that we are easily offended by any perceived slight etc.  Those who exhibit self-pride cannot forgive because they cannot accept that we are all defective, weak, susceptible, vulnerable, and capable of hurting each other.  Directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, those with self-pride cannot fathom that anyone would dare to offend, annoy, inconvenience, or disrupt them.  It takes real courage to accept offenses and move on.

We will discuss the next 4 ironies in our second segment of this thread, coming soon.

Copyright, 2013,  Gabriel Garnica     All rights reserved

The Body Prayer


 

 

          

 

 

Dearest Lord,  Let my mind be filled with Your Word, Your Will, and Your Example, that it may guide and direct me in every way toward You.

Let my ears only hear You call my name to Your service, and Your Word filling my mind, heart, and soul with Your guidance.

Let my eyes only see You in those I meet, and the opportunities to bring You daily into this world.

 

Let my tongue only taste Your Blessed Body and Blood as my true nourishment.

Let my mouth only deliver You to others, as a minister of You to all I meet, as a gentle guide, loving assistant, humble messenger, and constant relief in Your Name.

Sweet Lord, let my shoulders gladly carry the crosses you send me, my arms eagerly embrace those I can help, my hands reach out to those in need, and my fingers always point toward You and not myself.

Let my heart be filled with Your example of love and charity and my soul be immersed in a desire to someday return to You happily bruised with the experience of having soothed others’ bruises, and deserving of the eternal opportunity to bathe in Your Presence.

Let my knees always bend giving You praise and thanks and working for others, and let my legs take me to where You need me to be to better serve You.

Finally, let my feet stand firm in dedicated and loyal service to You, always ready, willing, and able to proclaim, represent, and defend Your Name and that of Your Blessed Mother as well as the gift of Faith You have lovingly sent me.

Above all, let my whole body serve You all the days of my life, and serve as Your tool in this vineyard rather than an obstacle to that service and my eternal salvation.

Dearest Lord, Let my body serve as a humble, unworthy, but willing chalice bringing You to others through my thoughts, words, actions, example, and love. Let me always strive to keep this chalice a worthy vessel of Your love, Will, and Word, all the days of my life.

Copyright, 2013,   Gabriel Garnica     All Rights Reserved

Turn Your Life Into a Perpetual Prayer


                   

 

If Prayer is connecting with God, if it is the essence of keeping God in your life constantly, then it is clear why the failure to pray is being oblivious to your own soul’s hunger for prayer and thirst for closeness with its creator.  We have all fallen far short in this regard at some time or another.  How many times will we run to the TV set or radio to catch up on something, or perhaps latch unto the internet as some sort of lifeline, before we will get on our knees and pray?  I know that I am as guilty as anyone of talking a big game, of preaching a desire to be so close to God, yet failing miserably in putting those big words and grandiose plans into consistent, tangible action, starting with prayer.  As I look back over my life, my prayer life has been a pathetic shambles.  Sporadic swipes toward some fanciful aspiration, born of a mix of delusion, pretension,  presumption, and selfishness, represent the sum and total of my sorely deficient prayer life.  Simply put, with as big a mouth as I have, prayer has represented less than 1% of what comes out of my mouth over the course of my life.

If we pray more and speak less, we will sin less and grow more into being like Christ.  Probably half of our sins start in our words because we have allowed our words to become contaminated with the superficial arrogance and selfish ignorance of this world.  Humility starts with speaking less, with using words prudently and carefully, as if we only had so many to use in our lives.  Perhaps we should see words as steps toward or away from God. There can be no middle ground, no neutral place here.  Either what we say will take us toward Christ or it will push us farther from Him.  The kind word, the gentle advice, the words of support and encouragement, and the expression of love are representative of Christ in our mouths.  The boastful arrogance, the hurtful gossip, the selfish demands and expectations, and the cutting insults are, on the other hand, steps away from Christ.

What goes for our words, likewise goes for our thoughts, actions, plans,  conduct, and attitude.  Every waking part of our lives spent outside the bathroom can and should be a persistent prayer, a transcendent expression of gratitude, love, loyalty, and dedication to God.  Prayer, then, should not be something we do when we get the chance but, rather, something we get the chance to do when we immerse ourselves with God.  We can, and should, turn our entire lives into a prayer, a song of praise, thanks, love, and dedication to God and God’s Will.  Do not look at prayer as a respite from the insanity of this world, as a temporary escape from the asylum we face on a daily basis.  Rather, immerse  yourself in prayer to the point where you do not drink prayer but rather live it.

Live in prayer; turn your life into a prayer;  know that, if you do this for the rest of  your life, you will truly bring God into your very existence as He deserves to be.

Copyright, 2013   Gabriel Garnica    All rights reserved